February 14th is Singles Awareness and Self-Love Day!
For some, Valentine’s Day is a highly anticipated time where people give and receive expressions of love and affection with significant others. Red and pink hearts, teddy bears, flowers, and candy are everywhere to set the stage. Your friends are announcing to the world on social media that they have the “best husband in the world,” or they are the new recipient of a diamond engagement ring. Maybe they received their favorite flowers at the office, or they are having the most wonderful lobster tail at that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Blah, blah, blah.
Unfortunately, couples and those in love around this holiday rarely take time to acknowledge their single friends, or those who are in unhappy or unfulfilling relationships.
For the singles, the divorced, the widowed or broken hearted, Valentine’s Day can be a dreaded, lonely or depressing time. Witnessing others receive gifts and special treatment can serve as a painful reminder of not having that special someone, a recent or significant loss, or that your significant other doesn’t seem to care to the extent someone else’s significant other cares. Like it or not, Valentine’s Day can cause some people to feel despair, isolate themselves, and sink into depression.
Celebrate February 14th as Singles Awareness and Self-Love Day! It is important to be mindful of those around you who are not coupled up, or have experienced love loss. Acknowledging and caring for their feelings during this time can make a difference. Even with the best intentions, sometimes people attempt to comfort singles by saying things like “I’m sure you’ll meet someone soon,” or “you might have to put yourself out there more.” No single or broken hearted person takes comfort in these types of cliché statements. Someone who is sad about their recent divorce does not benefit from hearing “you should be happy you are free to date other people now.” Save the advice and judgment and instead offer your friendship, your time, and your best listening skills.
Receiving external validation from others that we are valued and loved feels great. However, loving yourself this Valentine’s Day is a wonderful way to boost your own self-esteem without needing someone else to validate your worth. Romantic love is not the only love to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your pets. Love your home. Love yourself!
Practice self-love all year round. “If Valentine’s Day is for couples, than the other 364 days are for me!” Treat yourself to a manicure, a massage, or a fresh new haircut. Declutter, reorganize, or redecorate a room in your home. Attend a local single’s meet-up group. Go to a movie. Gather up your other single friends for a night out. Buy yourself some jewelry you want, instead of waiting for someone to buy you the kind you don’t want. Sign out some books from the library on a topic you’ve wanted to learn more about. Rescue a pet from a local shelter. Binge-watch that Netflix series everyone’s been talking about. Call or visit a long-distance friend or relative. Join a support group. Make a list of everything you are grateful for. Bake a cake and indulge. Poke fun of a cheesy, unrealistic romantic movie. Take a trip. Discover nature. Do something you’ve been putting off. Take yourself out for the lobster tail at that new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try.
And violets are actually purple.
Take care of you.
Kimberly Woodling, MSW, LCSW
Kimberly Woodling is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and CEO of Bethlehem Counseling Associates. She utilizes insight and emotion-oriented approaches to assist patients experiencing various psychological and social challenges. Kim believes that breakthroughs and enhancements to overall social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive functioning often occur as a person increases their self-awareness, and acquaints themselves with their full range emotions, contradictory feelings, interpersonal patterns, and defenses. She helps her patients scratch beneath their surface to explore unmet expectations, and unproductive patterns of behavior that keep them stuck and unsatisfied.